CoreOS debuts 'self-driving' Kubernetes

Tectonic software shifts to free for up to 10 nodes

CoreOS, maker of a minimalist version of Linux and software for containers, has made Tectonic, its Kubernetes management application, capable of automatically updating K8s clusters.

It also made Tectonic free for up to 10 nodes. Previously the software had to be acquired through contact with the company's sales department. Now it's available for download to those who have created Tectonic accounts.

In a phone interview with The Register today, Alex Polvi, CEO of CoreOS, said adding the ability to update distributed clusters is "one of the most technically sophisticated things we've ever built."

The challenge might be likened to renovating a house while living inside it: Replacing the floor you're standing on requires finesse.

CoreOS describes Tectonic as "self-driving" infrastructure that can help organizations keep Kubernetes deployments patched and secure.

The term "self-driving" has a certain cachet in Silicon Valley, thanks to Google, Tesla, and Uber, among others. While it may imply more intelligence than "automated" – a synonym suggesting rote responses – the distinction dies on impact with reality: The fatal crash of a Tesla under Autopilot control in June made it clear that self-driving technology, under any name, isn't necessarily safe.

Alongside more timely access to software improvements from the open source community, Polvi said security represents one of the primary motivations for introducing automated updating in Tectonic.

Pointing to the "onslaught of security updates" faced by IT administrators, Polvi said, "Whenever there's one of these bugs, IT personnel have to stop what they're doing and fix it. We believe that's one of the core reasons the internet is broken. If we can automate those fire drills, it will benefit companies and the internet at large."

At the same time, Polvi acknowledges that Tectonic's auto-updating capability isn't yet safe enough for production usage, calling it an alpha release. "It's like when Tesla introduced its Autopilot feature, they didn't remove the steering wheel from the car," he said.

CoreOS also said it has contributed several improvements coming in Kubernetes 1.5 in a few weeks. These include: scheduling improvements; etcd v3 speed improvements; container image policies; and easier testing and installation. ®

Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022